HC Deb 17 March 1887 vol 312 c530
MR. FINCH-HATTON (Lincolnshire, Spalding)

asked Mr. Attorney General, Whether repeated applications have been made by residuary legatees and others interested in the estates of deceased persons, to the Controller of Legacy and Succession Duties, for office copies of residuary accounts passed by executors; whether such applications are refused, unless upon an order of the executors or an order of one of Her Majesty's Judges of the Court of Chancery; and, whether persons interested are obliged to apply to the Court for an administration suit where executors refuse to render proper accounts to beneficiaries, and are thus put to unnecessary expense; and, if so, whether the present rule cannot be altered?


It is the fact that applications are at times made by persons for inspection of residuary accounts passed by executors, and that such applications are refused unless the written consent of the executors is obtained the documents are also produced in Court on subpœna. It is also the fact that when executors refuse to render accounts beneficiaries have to apply to the Court for an order for administration of the estate. The documents at the Inland Revenue Office are filed there merely for the purpose of the Revenue, and not for public inspection, and are treated as quasi-confidential documents. The Inland Revenue officials have no means of ascertaining whether persons making the application are, or are not, persons interested, or beneficiaries. It would, in my opinion, be detrimental to the Public Service if intending litigants were permitted to have access to the books and papers filed at Somerset House; as, in the circumstances, I do not see that the Rule can or ought to be altered.